Inspired by a liberal attitude, which sees the State’s intervention as an undue intromission in free trade and free enterprise, both necessary to the economy, the EU is structured around the concepts of free movement of goods, capital, people, services, and labor.
Market globalization has destroyed the walls and the barbed wire which had been raised after Yalta. It has not happened only for economic reasons and due to issues of sovereignty over territory. Thanks to the spreading of electronic and computer technology, the so-called “global village”, foreseen and predicted by the Canadian sociologist Marshall McLuhan, was made possible. More than half a century after the Treaties of Rome, the limits of uncontrolled liberal extremism have emerged clearly. “Uncontrolled” globalization has produced economic, political, and social crises, as well as widespread confusion in the preexistent order. At the same time, it has made a part of humanity become aware of the intimate bond connecting people who share the same destiny on this planet. Hence, the actions of a part of us has repercussion on the others, and the available resources must necessarily be shared without wasting, but safeguarding the Creation for the benefit of the generations to come.
The crisis of 2008 arrived. It is difficult to place it anywhere in the cyclical context of the economy, but its genesis can be readily identified in the dangerous games of international finance, whose dominion has raised very serious questions about the process of European integration that had been going on since the end of World War II.
The peoples of Europe – not the governments, a fact that provoked a crisis of representation and confidence in already compromised national policies and institutions, – have begun to take an interest in the integration process and wonder about the true nature of the bureaucratic structure put in place in Brussels in order to build the Union. The decision-making process of the Council of Europe was put increasingly out of balance by the weight of the ‘strong’ countries and their interests. These countries that “matter the most” altered decisions, pushing them away from the idea of “service” in view of the common good of the Member States. The European Parliament, the only one to be elected through a more or less democratic process, is still marginal and is often subject to a commission chosen with “methods” perceived as “unclear”, making it easy to criticize Commission members who seem to be stewards at the banks’ banquet.
Taking into account the actual results of the free movement of people and goods, the peoples of Europe have also wondered about the level of integration they have achieved. Many of them believe that it is now lower than it was in the ’80s, when the goal was the Europe of ’92.
Even more serious questions have been raised after the introduction of euro, the single currency adopted by the European Union, at times when the process of political unification had not yet been consolidated. In many EU countries have grown political movements against the euro and against Europe. In some cases, they were contrary to the ideal of a united Europe as such. These movements were born from discontent caused by the widespread feeling of “betrayal” towards the order outlined by the Founding Fathers of Europe – to this regard emerge the names of three Catholics: Adenauer, De Gasperi, and Schuman – for the sake of the Europe they dreamed about and in view of the common good. In short, today we invoke “a Europe of peoples and not a Europe of banks” and deplore “a currency without a State, while there are entire States with no money”.
Scientific Director of the Association ‘‘Environment and Society’’